With revenue broadly stable at $17.8 billion, the UNPAT margin expanded from 2.2% to 2.6% compared with the same time last year.
Reported net profit after tax of $430 million also compared favourably with the same period in 2013, when NPAT of $444 million included a one-off gain of $115 million from the sale of 70% of the Group’s telecommunications assets.
Gearing reduced to 33.7% in September from 39.4% in the corresponding 2013 period.
“Looking at the balance sheet and cash flow, it is very pleasing to note that gearing has continued its positive trend this year, reducing from 38.5% in March to 37.1% in June and to 33.7% in September,” Leighton Holdings executive chairman and CEO Marcelino Fernandez Verdes said.
“A comparison with 2013 also highlights the improvement in our operating cash flow – net debt, including operating leases, has reduced by $302 million in quarter three 2014, whereas, in the same quarter in 2013, it increased by $158 million, representing a relative improvement of $460 million.”
The net debt reduction in Q3 was driven by operating cash inflow, reduced capital expenditure and the collection of receivables, with payables remaining stable.
Fernandez Verdes said this positive result was a reflection of the group’s strategic review of its businesses and operations.
“We are delivering on one of the cornerstones of the strategic review, with a steady and sustainable improvement in our net debt and working capital positions,” he said.
“We aim to deliver further improvements by the year-end.”
The restructuring of the Leighton businesses, announced in June this year, is on track for substantial completion by the end of the year, with simplified, standardised IT systems expected to be introduced in 2015.
At September 30, work in hand was $37.7 billion, in line with the balance at June 30 this year.
Subject to market conditions, unforeseen circumstances and the outcomes of the strategic
review, Leighton reiterated its market guidance to deliver UNPAT in the range of $540 million to
$620 million and gearing in the range of 20% to 35% by December 31.